The Colgate Scene
November 1999
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Much Ado About Gladstone
by John D. Hubbard


			

Josh Gladstone '90 returned to Colgate with his Hamptons Shakespeare Festival to stage The Tempest. Assuming the role of Stephano, the drunken servant, Gladstone also directed the play, which begins with a ship-wrecking storm.
The Tempest blew into town early this semester and Josh Gladstone '90 was in the eye of the hurricane.

     As the founder and artistic director of the Hamptons Shake-speare Festival, Gladstone packed up this summer's Long Island show, the 26 members of the cast, crew and orchestra and staged the Bard's storm-tossed comedy in Sanford Field House.

     The idea of bringing the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival to campus originated during the summer of 1998 while Associate Professor of English Deborah Knuth was visiting her parents in Amagansett. She and her family saw As You Like It three times (they loved it!) and Gladstone was asked if the '99 show -- The Tempest -- might be transported to Colgate. After a meeting with Dean of the Faculty Jane Pinchin, the idea took form. Gladstone's first choice for the performance site was the Old Golf Course, but he was persuaded the weather in the field house would be better. Then, working by fax, with a host of people on campus, Glad-stone planned the production, and signed on everyone he could for the reprise performance after the end of the summer run.

A movable festival
"I brought everything I thought would be useful," said Gladstone as he and crew unloaded a jam-packed rental truck. Slowly a set emerged, albeit with a catch-as-catch-can design, quite different from the venues in Southampton and Mon-tauk, where the festival is based.

     Four of the 14 actors staging the production were also new, which meant there was little spare time in the two-day Colgate stay for the troupe. Dances were rehearsed, lines were run and blocking was plotted.

     By the time the matinee opened with a fierce tropical storm, the field house still didn't feel like the tip of Long Island, but the play, full of energy and whimsy, was transforming for the audience of 600.

     Enter Gladstone, down the center aisle, as the drunken butler Stephano. In top hat and tails, but sans pants. Gladstone's return, however, was complete and triumphant. That he has made his life in theater is no surprise to those who remember his undergraduate roles in Brehmer.

     "It was great to be invited back," said Gladstone. "It gave me some sense of validation. To my friends in the festival it was: `This is where I come from.' For my Colgate friends it was: `This is where I've gone.'"

     While Gladstone maintains a day job working in corporate headhunt-ing, the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival is a year-round obligation. The annual four-week run consumes much of the summer while setting up benefits, fundraising and "luring patrons into our web" occupies large chunks of the rest of the year.

     Planning the season also takes time, and Gladstone is optimistic about a fifth summer of Shakespeare on Long Island.

     "I'm always meeting new artists so I can put a team together."

     Shortly after the performance at Colgate, Gladstone and Kathryn Mueth, who played Prospero's daughter, were married.

     "We rewrote the ending of The Tempest," said Gladstone. "Stephano marries Miranda."

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